We provide education in line with the national curriculum – organised around the pupils’ bespoke education healthcare plans.
To help ensure that we offer the BEST education for every child, The Holden School has subject leads who oversees the provision for that subject, and ensures that the planning allows for clear sequence and progression in the knowledge, skills and understanding required for success in each subject that falls under their faculty. The subjects at The Holden School are as follows:
English – encompassing an overview of reading across the school, phonics (using the Rocket Phonics Scheme) literacy, speaking and listening, drama and both English Literature and Language GCSEs
PSHE – encompassing relationships education and SMSC
Art and DT – encompassing art design and technology and catering
PE – encompassing outdoor education and Duke of Edinburgh award
Humanities – encompassing history and geography
Music – offered as an enrichment opportunity each week for pupils in EYFS to KS3.
Each subject has a Subject Handbook which is available to download below. These booklets are updated annually before the start of the new academic year and lay out the intent of the curriculum for each subject, as well as how the subject leads plan to implement this.
The Holden School is a purpose-built school that has been designed specifically with the needs of the children we support in mind. Each class has no more than six or seven children looked after by a teacher and teaching assistant, so children get a high level of personalised support. The classrooms are spacious, bright and have spaces for learning, playing and relaxing so the children have the right level of stimulation. Children can also use our large hall and the playground to enhance their learning experiences as part of their weekly lessons.
Building strong relationships
We place a great deal of emphasis on teaching children how to develop and sustain positive relationships and much of this is mirrored through the role models they have in their teachers. It’s the teachers who serve children breakfast in the morning and sit alongside them during lunch. Teachers also lead the children in guided play during their breaks and have fun with them on our weekly reward trips. It’s during these more informal times together that students and teachers have an opportunity to build confidence and trust in each other.
Taking a nurturing approach
We take a nurturing approach to education here at The Holden School. Many of the children we support have significant gaps in their development which we seek to identify and address through everything we do. Broadly speaking, children will be in a class with others of a similar age. However, if we feel that a particular child would benefit from being in a class with children who are of a similar developmental level, then we will look to move them accordingly. What’s crucial is that children develop the core capabilities with enhanced social and emotional support at a pace that’s right for them. As children develop the confidence to express themselves and a sense of self-esteem, we find they make great academic progress too.
Supporting children with autism
We have an additional class that offers focused provision for students with autism spectrum disorders. Through this class, we offer a highly structured and ‘autistic-friendly’ environment that promotes communication and independence. Our skilled staff have expertise in using visual prompts and alternative communication systems to help the children progress socially and academically. We ensure that children within our autism provision are well integrated into the rest of the school and can make the most of the wide range of activities on offer to them.
Encouraging positive behaviour
We take a positive approach to managing behaviour, which is built on relationships. Our children understand what is expected of them and are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions. At the same time, the staff also understand and get to know the young people we work with, so they can identify when children are getting stressed or anxious and they can intervene both early and appropriately. It’s important that we manage behaviour in a nurturing way and the whole team is trained to take this approach. We are fortunate to have a designated member of staff who takes responsibility for the pastoral care of our children and helps to establish and resolve any wider issues that are affecting a child’s behaviour within the classroom. No child should ever have to struggle alone.
We love to celebrate the progress our children make and promote a number of reward systems to recognise their achievements. Every afternoon, children can choose an activity to take part in during ‘Golden Time’ if they reach their behaviour targets for the day. On a Friday morning, we offer a variety of curriculum enrichment activities, which may include swimming, bowling or going to the park.
At The Holden School we use a Positive Behaviour Recognition System in conjunction with a Trauma Informed Practice approach. This helps young people to develop their self-esteem, self-regulate and achieve their potential. All our Team are trained in a Trauma Informed Approach and are supported by our onsite Therapy Team.
Giving children a voice
We want the children at Holden School to feel that this is their school; a place where they are valued, listened to, and feel safe. Through our school council, we want to engage children in decisions about uniform, school meals and the activities they enjoy on Friday afternoons. We also give potential new teachers a chance to take a class, and encourage pupils to give us their honest feedback. Wherever it’s feasibly possible, we’ll put children’s ideas into practice.