Inclusive and child-centred learning are paving the way for students to attain educational goals effectively.

“Individualised programmes” was a key takeaway from the recent Extended Learning Needs Programme open house event for staff members. Whilst perusing literature and activity aids on display in the sizeable classroom space, guests could watch a recording of the students singing joyful tunes. Also exhibited were a number of impressive artworks, several of which were self-portraits by Grade 7 Art students.

Launched in 2019, the Extended Learning Needs Programme ensures the inclusion of diverse learners with a variety of needs within the Secondary School. Individualised student learning programmes are created based on a variety of data and inputs from teachers, families and the student themselves. This triangulation of information ensures that the best learning pathways are created for each student enrolled within the programme. Interventions and lessons within the supported classroom are planned carefully to ensure that the individual student’s strengths, interests and needs are considered.

The physical set up of the room includes a designated learning space with work areas for small group intervention and coaching classes, alongside a calming sensory and reading area that comprises of a collection of sensory type tools conducive to physical or emotional regulation and relaxation. 

Once Secondary School pupils are enrolled in the Extended Learning Needs Programme, programme instructors provide learning assistance in the classrooms, and regularly review with parents their intended goals. The teachers make alterations to the students learning environment and establish routines. Working in small groups, the youngsters are able to examine effective communication using visual images, for example. Social interactions can be of focus, as in learning by observing gestures and the reactions of others. The children are also able to practice and make strides in behaviour management.

As much as possible, authentic inclusion in their general classroom settings with peers is emphasised. Interaction with peers and inclusion across all school areas is of key importance, and every young person enrolled attends tutorial and practical classes as a minimum. In-class support is provided in classes where appropriate and modification to teaching methods and activities is encouraged to ensure engagement and availability of the best learning opportunities for everyone. 

The ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network) curriculum is followed, in which independence and self-advocacy are stressed. As an alternative to the IB Diploma, the curriculum is challenging and dynamic and a variety of subjects are taught with an accent on life skills such as cooking and gardening. We could observe one of the students reviewing coursework titled Animal First Aid, which incorporated hands-on exercises. Offering added flexibility in, eg the Maths, the programme aims to equip learners to live well and make full use of their abilities. A certificate is awarded upon successful completion, and the programme’s focus on careers is especially well-regarded.

As we mark International Day of Education on 24 January, we recognise and appreciate the diverse learning and activity programmes embraced at our school that encourage inclusion of all students on their pathway to success.

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