All pupils at Falkland House School follow the Curriculum for Excellence, which enables each young person to be a successful learner, confident individual, responsible citizen and effective contributor. They have a Key Teacher who is responsible for monitoring and guiding their progress, liaising with parents and professionals.
When a pupil arrives in the school, they will be supported in managing the routine of the school and getting to know their new peer group. We produce initial assessments which look at literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing as well as an assessment of the social skills of the pupils. These assessments are compiled and shared with everyone in the school along with some appropriate strategies to support the pupil.
Formative assessment is carried out with the Big Writing Assessments, York Reading Assessments for literacy and Tee Jay for numeracy.
Each pupil has a learning journey document which contains targets, evidence of learning and outcomes as well as personal achievements. We also have a comprehensive tracking and monitoring system and an Academic and Behavioural development framework. These documents are used to track and share progress and are applied in parallel with the SHANARRI care plan. All documents give a comprehensive and holistic view of the child which is used by the team around them.
We have an interdisciplinary approach to learning across the school. We work with a topic that inspires and motivates, and we cover many curriculum subjects within that theme. We will work as a full class on the same theme, and there will be differentiation through specific tasks or expectations.
We have an active and experiential approach to learning and highly value celebrating personal achievement. This is visually obvious in the classroom with lots of colourful, relevant and current wall displays celebrating the success of the pupils, motivating them to succeed and giving them ownership of their own learning environment.
The whole school works with self-regulation scripts to help promote positive behaviour; this is used in all classrooms along with a calm organised learning environment.
In all subjects and at all stages, a very practical project-focused curriculum is employed to ensure continued high levels of engagement and motivation. All teachers teach in context, using a thematic approach which creates tangible life examples of the subject content being taught.
Moving into the senior phase, all pupils are successfully achieving SQA awards. In this period of transition to the new National Award structure, we have over the last two years presented pupils in awards from National 3 to Advanced Higher. All current S4 and S5 pupils are on target to attain National 4 to Higher Awards in the following subjects:
- Administration and IT
- Personal Development Award
Additional options include:
- Modern Studies
A broad range of units are also delivered in topics that are Vocational, Cultural and Sporting in nature, which allows progression in the S4/6 phase to course awards in all of the above courses at an advanced level, up to Advanced Higher, as well as the introduction of the following:
- Physical Education
- Skills for Work
- Digital Media
Wider achievement is also recognised through the use of National Governing Body Awards.
We offer an elective programme each Thursday afternoon where pupils have the opportunity to choose the activity that they are involved in. This allows greater depth of study in a particular area of interest or strength, or provides the opportunity to try new activities. The elective options are offered to the pupils on a term-by-term basis. Elective options include:
- Cabin Construction
- Expedition and Hill Walking
- Ground Care and Maintenance
- Computer Programming and Game Design
- Rock Climbing
- Paddle Boarding
Class sizes are small, which provides a comfortable supportive environment within which academic potential can be fulfilled. We recognise the need to support the social and emotional development of all pupils. Classes all come together for whole school activity, PE being the key example, and pupils experience transition of activity and peers regularly.
The ethos of the school encourages pupil participation in making the decisions which affect them. All pupils are involved in at least one of the following committees or groups:
- Rights Respecting School Group
- Health Promoting School Group
- ECO School Group
- Peer Support Group
- Pupils’ Council
All pupils are part of a house within the school where they contribute to meetings and discussions which shape activity choices, comment on education and care and set priorities for developments.
Research has shown that one of the most important predictors of positive outcomes in adulthood is the mastery of a variety of self-care skills. Teaching practical skills that will foster pupils’ independence is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, we have developed an independence programme which runs alongside the school’s Personal & Social Development curriculum and offers an innovative approach to daily living skills and preparing the pupils for their future. The skills taught bolster confidence and the willingness to try new experiences and, as a result, increase the chances for future success in all aspects of life. Following early feedback and success of the programme, the school has now employed two Independence Development Workers.
The programme is personalised. Pupils, parents, staff and associated professionals are all involved in setting short and long-term SMART targets. Each task or skill is coordinated by an appropriate member of staff and progress is formally reported at each review. Success can be easily measured (each task can be scored from fully dependent to fully independent and a percentage score calculated for each section), showing progress in both the short and long term.
The independent skills cover every area and ability level. Most skills needed for independence are often mistakenly considered simple enough to be learned without direct teaching and guided practice. Having an additional support need can complicate the learning and teaching of these basic skills. There is nothing we can do in regard to how individuals learn certain skills but we can certainly introduce a variety of ways in which we teach them.
The skills are split into 12 areas:
- Interpersonal Skills
- Job Skills
- Life Management
- Managing Money
- Social Media & Internet Skills
The programme ensures the skills are not learned in isolation but in real life situations where more than one skill will be needed to reach a positive outcome.