At the Acorn Free School the basis of our curriculum is around enabling pupils to become confident learners, positively engaged and ultimately able to access learning in a mainstream or further education setting. The curriculum has been designed to enable pupils who have struggled to achieve and make progress within a traditional school setting to become:
- successful learners who enjoy and achieve;
- confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives;
- responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society.
We currently have four pupil groups of between 4 – 12 students and each follows a slightly different curriculum plan the details of which can be found under the heading ‘Pupil Grouping’. All pupils attend a whole school daily assembly focused on developing PSHE skills and these are drawn out in the individual classes each day. In addition to the core curriculum for each group, the majority of our students will access an enrichment curriculum designed not only to teach specific skills and knowledge, but also to re-engage and motivate students, so that they can enjoy the positive experience of education and perceive themselves as learners. The enrichment curriculum currently includes the following, though we are constantly looking at new ways to engage youngsters and this provision changes and develops to meet the needs of our current cohort of students
Mechanical Engineering – taking place in our onsite workshop and following the roadwise ASDAN programme. This course also teaches students the basic skills of safe motorbike riding and culminates in a display for parents, carers and schools
Stable Management – in partnership with a local riding stables, students learn basic horse management and safety awareness alongside developing their riding skills
Junior Sport Leadership – The syllabus is designed to develop generic skills, which can be applied to a variety of sporting activities, as well as contributing to the student’s personal and social education. It is a practical course for young people to participate in and give them an insight into employment one can gain through sports leadership.
Environmental Education – Pupils attend at Whisby Education Centre for one day per week focusing on a wide range of activities to support the national curriculum and provide an outdoor learning experience. Pupils gain practical skills around orienteering or conservation alongside co-operative teamworking skills.
KS3 full-time group
The curriculum followed in this group follows a core of English, Maths, Science, Humanities, Food Technology and PE. Pupils also have access to the Read, Write, Inc reading recovery programme if this is a need that has been identified. In addition pupils are taught a wide range of PSHE skills to develop their social understanding and focus on the specific behaviours and needs that led to their placement at the Acorn Free School. The expertise and knowledge of the staff will be used both as a vehicle for teaching subject content and to manage and modify pupils’ behaviour in the most positive ways to re-engage them in learning. A range of teaching strategies will engage and motivate the pupils so that they learn and make at least good progress.
KS3 part-time group
This pupil group attend for up to 3 days per week, currently Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For the remainder of the week pupils are based in their own mainstream setting. The curriculum followed covers a core of English, Maths, PE and Food Technology and then incorporate direct teaching of behaviour modification .
KS4 full-time & part-time group
The curriculum followed by the KS4 groups varies depending on the options selected within the mainstream setting. All students within KS4 access a core of English, Maths, Science, PSHE, PE and Food Technology, however alongside this we also maintain any GCSE or externally accredited study the pupil is working towards at the point of referral. In order to manage this effectively we liaise closely with referring schools to ensure access to appropriate modules of work and online learning through their own school’s Virtual Learning Environment. The part-time KS4 group attend flexibly over the week dependent on the options taken in school and the time that it is agreed that students are best placed in a different setting. Students also have access to the Princes Trust Programme. All pupils have access to career planning and we work proactively with student and providers to develop a pathway towards future employment or learning.