Welcome to class 11 – class teacher Catherine Ketteringham

Students in class 11 are semi-formal and formal learners.

They are learning about the many areas of the Equals Curriculum as well as developing their life skills through Aim Awards to help them become more independent.

We also encourage all of our students to take on responsibility for different jobs within the classroom including preparing class snacks, washing and drying pots, helping to unload and appropriately store shopping and organising recycling. Our students receive ‘wages’ for the jobs they do which they save in their money pouches and spend on treats in our class 11 snack shop café on Friday mornings. Through this, they are also learning about the life skills of social interactions, transactions, money and change.

We plan in time for self-regulation throughout the day, offering a variety of sensory based activities to help students learn how to self-regulate and manage their own feelings and emotions.

The academy day

Morning

Each day staff meet and greet students as they arrive on their transport and walk in together. Students hang up their coats and bags before having a cold drink, heading to the toilet and washing their hands, ready to start the day. Students engage in a variety of activities upon arrival including sensory activities, reading or a piece of work, until all students have arrived.

We watch Newsround at the start of each day and discuss some of the articles as a class before sharing class news, which is a great way of developing listening and turn taking skills. We develop decision making, communication and social skills through morning registration with each member of the class choosing their preferred way to greet peers and staff.

Following registration, we develop communication, decision making, memory and the sequencing of time through answering questions about the day/date and weather. We always follow this by going out for our class walk where we can informally identify problems and help students plan how to solve them.

Our first lesson of the day on Monday is circle check in where students share weekend news and any concerns they have about the coming week. On Tuesday, lesson one is our life skills lesson where students develop their decision making skills, by choosing which turn taking activities they will participate in. Activities change each half term.

On the other days, our lesson one is related to the development of English and maths knowledge and skills and application to real life situations.

Snack and break follow successful completion of morning work. Here our students develop their independence, with support from staff, in choosing, preparing, eating and tidying up after their preferred snacks. At break time, students play with their friends outside in the walled play space or, during winter, have an option of playing indoors as well.

Students further develop their decision making and choosing through having a dedicated session where they can choose music or a programme to watch at breaks and lunchtimes.

After break time students have ten minutes of calm, sensory regulation where they listen to relaxing music, have hand massages or play with sensory equipment to help them prepare for the lessons to come.

Lesson two on Mondays is our personal, social and health education (PSHE) and relationship and sexual health education (RSHE) lesson. Students learn about positive, healthy relationships, online safety, making healthy decisions and important changes that happen within their bodies as well as reproduction. Lesson two on Fridays is our science lesson where students learn about and explore the world around us in practical ways.

On the other days, lesson two involves our creative and physical lessons, with food technology, art and design and physical education. In these lessons, students develop practical fine and gross motor skills as well as communication, teamwork, creativity and resilience.

Lunch time

Lunch time takes place in our classroom or the common room, which can be either school lunch, or sandwiches from home, after which, students have their main playtime of the day.

Afternoon and home time

After lunch, students have a further ten minutes of calm, sensory regulation before we start our shorter afternoon sessions. During these sessions, students learn Makaton to enable them to use a wider range of communication skills, we look at time, reading, and languages and on Fridays, we have Star of the Week Assembly where we go through everyone’s fantastic achievements from our praise board and we award our Star of the Week to one of our amazing students.

We follow this with choosing time and snack where our students make decisions about how they want to spend their time and what they would like to eat. They can interact with each other in a relaxed atmosphere, playing games or they can unwind with an iPad or watching programmes or movies together.

Students spend the last 15 minutes tidying their workspace, reflecting on their day, checking out with each other and getting ready for transport home.